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Rev Rosie writes about Easter

30th March 2021

rosie bunnRev Rosie Bunn
Rector of All Saints Church, Belton
and
St Peter & St Paul Church, Burgh Castle

 
The first Easter Day dawned and great sadness and grief was felt by the family, friends, and disciples of Jesus. He had been crucified and buried hurriedly on the Friday, before the Jewish holy day began. Then there was a whole day of waiting through Saturday, until they could visit the tomb on the Sunday to tend to the preparation of his body for burial in accordance with their custom. For some in our community there will be unfinished business in terms of grief in bereavement because funerals and wakes have not been able to be held in the usual way, and the waiting has been prolonged
 
But, on Easter Sunday, when the women arrived at Jesus’ tomb, they found the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty. Jesus was not there! There was quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. The women go back and tell the disciples what they have seen. Peter and another disciple run to the tomb, to discover what the women have told them – that the grave clothes are there, but no Jesus. There is confusion and disbelief. For some of us, the loss of a friend or relative seems almost unreal; we haven’t been able to see family and friends, so we are left in a strange place in our bereavement, as if feeling it is unreal
 
On that Easter morning it is Mary Magdalene, weeping in the garden, in the vicinity of the tomb, who stumbles across the person she believes to be the gardener, asking if he knows where they have put Jesus. In answer to her questions, she hears her name spoken, “Mary!” and she recognises Jesus’ voice. He is alive! He is there with her! And she reaches out to him, but is told that he has yet to return to Father God (in heaven) and she is to go and tell the disciples that he is alive and returning to Father God. She does this, but the disciples don’t believe what the women say
 
Later that day, Jesus joins two of the disciples who have given up on Jerusalem and are returning home on the Emmaus Road. He walks with them, talks to them about what has happened recently in Jerusalem and explains what the Bible scriptures say about Jesus, his death and life. These two recognise Jesus only when he breaks the bread in the meal they are to share, and it leads to them hurrying back to Jerusalem to tell their story and experience to Jesus’ followers
 
Having turned up at the place where the disciples were hiding for fear of the Jewish leaders, and told everyone there what has happened, Jesus appears to them all (except Thomas). He just appears in the room and they think he’s a ghost! But Jesus encourages them to touch him; to look at his hands and his feet (showing evidence of crucifixion marks) and to give him some fish to eat (which he eats), and he gives them understanding of teaching of the scriptures. How “the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations….”. Can you imagine how those disciples felt when they saw Jesus alive – standing in front of them? Jesus is alive, and for forty days he comes and goes, teaching them and encouraging them, but them ascends back into heaven, where he remains
 
The passage from John’s gospel (chapter 14) that is often read at funerals helps us in understanding what happens. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going”
 
The resurrection, the rising of Christ from the dead, is key to what Christians believe. It is the foundation of Christian hope: the belief and expectation that Jesus will return to take us to be with him, either at the end of time or when we pass away from life here on earth. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened up the possibility of eternal life for each one of us. It is a hope Christians have, from the trust and belief we have in Jesus. So Easter is a most significant time of celebration
 
I don’t know how you celebrate Easter, but I’m sure many of you will be enjoying an Easter egg or two. When you break your hollow egg open, perhaps you will remember the empty tomb of Jesus, and be reminded of the joy of the disciples in discovering Jesus alive, and the hope we have now, for life beyond the grave. Hope is so important for each one of us. May your hope be found in Jesus this Easter
 
There will be a service in both All Saints, Belton and St Peter & St Paul, Burgh Castle, as well as a live-streamed service from Belton on Facebook Live. Come and join us and join in our joyful celebrations
 
Stay Safe, Bless you
Rosie Bunn

 



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